This article was requested by a reader, and I liked the idea.
Saving your first $1000 emergency fund can be difficult.
You may be in debt, and barely making ends meet, and then you start a plan like Dave Ramsey’s “Baby Steps,” and the first step is to save $1000.
You’re thinking “I can’t even pay my water bill, how am I supposed to save $1000?”
Well, I’m not going to say these ways are easy, but they are effective, and if you’re willing to put in the work, you can get $1000 saved very quickly, Anyone can.
1. Get a Second Job
Yeah, this is obvious isn’t it? But getting a second job can seem daunting.
You may already have a second job. That’s fine, but there are still ways to earn quick cash.
Here are a few options that will get you to your goal quickly, and fairly painlessly:
- Get a Newspaper Route – These can earn anywhere from $500-$2000 a month, depending on the route and where you live. My wife and I had two paper routes at one point. These usually take an hour or two, and they’re done early in the morning. Even if you just keep the route for a month or two, you’ll hit your goal.
- Deliver Phone Books – This isn’t an option everywhere, but many places give you the opportunity to deliver phone books once a year. You can get as many routes as you want, and you can easily make a couple thousand dollars if you work hard at it. I’ve done this, and it’s effective, but you must make sure you follow the instructions on exactly where to put the phone books at the houses.
- Deliver Pizzas – My favorite second job ever! I used to make $15-$25 an hour doing this, and you get to listen to audiobooks all the time. I’m sure one of your local pizza places are hiring. Again, even if you only do this for a month or two, you’ll get that grand!
- Landscaping – Yes, going door to door and asking people if they need their lawn mowed. You can also add other landscaping services, such as light gardening and spreading mulch. This is something you can do on the weekends — one day a week if you want. You’ll hit your goal. But one word of caution: don’t take this up for one month, beat the landscaping companies’ prices, and then quit after you hit your goal. If you do that, you’re screwing the companies and the people. Why not keep doing this and hit your other goals?
A second job doesn’t have to last forever. Remember, this is only temporary.
2. Sell Your
Sorry…not your body, don’t sell that. Unless that’s your thing. I’m not judging. But that’s a different article.
You have plenty of things around your house that you don’t need. And you know it.
There are plenty of common things you can sell that can get you to your goal, for example:
- Your CD collection – Just go digital. It takes up less space.
- Your DVD collection – Do you really watch all of those movies?
- Kitchen Appliances – Do you actually use that quesadilla maker?
- Your Old Phones – An old iPhone 4 or 5 can earn you some cash.
- Clothing – You know you have more clothes than you need.
We all have stuff around our house to sell. You wouldn’t leave $50 just sitting around, would you?
Why leave something like an old phone sitting around that you could get $50 for? Same thing.
If you’re not one to sell online, it’s a great time to have a yard sale!
3. Stop Spending Money
There is a good chance that you can stop spending money for a month. I did it, and surprisingly, I figured out I was able to go for almost six months.
Stop eating out. Pack your lunches. Open your freezer and your cabinets.
You probably have enough food to last a month. Eat what you have.
Likewise, you can go 30 days without buying clothes. And cut your traveling down as much as possible.
Obviously you have bills that you can’t avoid, but you can cut your daily budget down to almost nothing. Of course, you could always camp in your backyard for a month and drastically reduce your utilities. Sometimes drastic saving calls for drastic measures, and it makes a good story once you’ve done it.
You’ll be surprised at how easy it is to not spend money.
4. Stop Smoking or Drinking
Cigarettes are expensive. If you smoke, you know that. Going to the bar is also expensive.
If you do both and you stop both, you can probably get your $1000 in 30 days.
If you just give up one, it may take a little longer.
You can always go back to buying three shots for the price of an entire bottle of liquor, after you get your $1000. Or consider switching to house parties.
How to Keep it Saved
The important thing is to believe you can do it and keep it. Stop telling yourself it’s so difficult.
And don’t touch the money unless you have an actual emergency.
I recommend putting it in a money market account that penalizes you if you withdrawal more than a few times per year. That will help remind you not to touch it unless you really need it. I’m sure you won’t have more than a few major emergencies in a year. If you’re just that unlucky and you do, you may want to consider saving $2000.
What are some more ways you’ve used or plan to use to save your $1000?
P.S. If you have an idea for an article, comment below and tell me about it!